Coconut milk is similar to the conventional dairy beverage in terms of its creamy consistency. It is famous in countries with lush coconut tree farms like the Caribbean, the Philippines, and other Asian countries.
The milk is slightly sweet in flavor, which makes it a remarkable cow’s milk substitute in preparing smoothies and other desserts. Nowadays, coconut milk gains a lot of attention with the popularity of Vegan diet, which keeps people from taking in conventional dairy products. This article will discuss the benefits as well as the side effects of drinking coconut milk to answer the question “Is coconut milk good for you?”.
Is Coconut Milk Good for You?
Note that the key in getting the health benefits of coconut milk lies in moderation. Avoid drinking too much. Limit your daily intake within 2 cups. Also opt for freshly made coconut milk. Drink less from a can because processed foods can bring potential danger.
1. Vitamins and Minerals
Common vitamins found in coconut milk are vitamin C, E and several B vitamins. Each vitamin is crucial for your health due to their contributions. Vitamin C and E improves your immune system. On the other hand, cellular energy increases with the presence of B vitamins taken in with the milk.
Aside from these vitamins, incorporating coconut milk on your diet also supplies other essential nutrients like iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. Iron is integral in producing erythrocytes or red blood cell, which carry oxygen for distribution. Magnesium is linked with several biochemical processes like nerve cell functions and heart rhythm regulation. Bones and teeth receive benefits from good amounts of phosphorus. Lastly, potassium is a vital nutrient for sustaining tissues found on major organs in the body like brain, kidney and heart.
Several medical journals, including the Ceylon Medical Journal, cited and emphasized the high amounts of antioxidants in coconut milk. Antioxidants are vital in the body in preventing potential toxin-induced health issues. Numerous studies present linkage between free radicals and major diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, heart problems, and cancer. Dementia caused by aging also benefits from coconut milk’s ability in slowing down the aging process.
3. Lauric Acid
Lauric acid is often found in breast milk, but studies show the presence of this fatty acid in coconut. The National Center for Biotechnology Information claims lauric acid’s ability to counteract germs and viruses. Destroying these harmful foreign microorganisms ensure protection from different diseases.
In addition to its anti-bacterial properties, lauric acid also contributes in lowering the risk of heart diseases by reducing and stabilizing triglycerides and cholesterol levels.
4. Promote Cardiovascular Health
The Ceylon Medical Journal claims that while coconut milk has healthy fats, which are not the type that blocks arteries, which also implies protection from risk of heart problems. Monoglycerides, a type of lipid, found in coconut meat are immediately absorbed and converted to energy after consumption. Utilizing monoglycerides as energy means it will not be stored and clog the blood vessel.
5. Relieve Arthritis Symptoms
Joint inflammation is also linked with free radicals. Coconut milk contains selenium, a component that works as antioxidant that cleanses the body from free radicals and relieves joint inflammation.
6. Calm Nerve Cells
Nerve cells can be excessively stimulated among hypertensive individuals. Magnesium and calcium contents in this milk stabilize blood pressure and calm the nerves.
7. Regulate Blood Sugar
Magnesium also aids in stabilizing glucose level by breaking it down and promote better metabolic rate in the body.
Watch a video for health benefits of coconut milk:
1. Moisturizing Skin
Coconut milk’s fat retains moisture in your skin, giving it a softer and smoother texture. You can experience its moisturizing properties by drinking or applying it directly on your skin. Let the milk stay on your skin for approximately 15 minutes after application then rinse.
2. Makeup Removal
Mixing coconut oil with olive oil creates an organic makeup remover. Applying the mixture on your skin makes removing cosmetic products easier.
3. Wrinkle Prevention
As mentioned earlier, coconut milk contains antioxidants that control aging. In addition, it is also rich in copper and vitamin C that enhance skin elasticity and reduce wrinkles and fine lines.
4. Sunburn Treatment
Sunburned skin can also be relieved by applying coconut milk. It moisturizes the affected area and relieves sunburn-induced pain.
5. Hair Conditioner
Various shampoo and conditioner brands blend coconut milk and oil that moisturize the hair while maintaining its natural shine. Get the same benefit the natural way by massaging coconut oil on your hair from root to tip. Apply coconut milk and wrap your hair with a towel for several hours to experience its hair moisturizing properties.
Side Effects and Precautions
BPA, also known as bisphenol-A, is a component used in manufacturing products made from plastic and metal. Its linkage with breast cancer, premature puberty, and infertility alarmed people. Coconut milk itself does not have this component, but you risk exposure by drinking the product stored in plastic and metal containers with BPA. Be sure to verify if the brand selling coconut milk uses BPA-free containers before buying.
2. Guar Gum
Guar gum is a polysaccharide included in the galactose side group. This component that may be present in coconut milk can induce digestive discomfort for several individuals.
3. Fructose Malabsorption
This condition prevents smooth transport of fructose in the small intestine, which propagates bacteria population growth while impairing the organ’s water absorbing abilities. Individuals suffering from irritable bowel disorders (IBS) are advised not to drink coconut milk because of its polyols and monossacharides that increase the risk in experiencing this problem.
4. Weight Gain
Excessive intake of coconut milk, meat and oil can cause weight gain. A cup of coconut milk contains 445 calories and high saturated fat contents increase can make you gain more weight.
5. Allergic Reaction
According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), coconut is classified as a tree nut, which makes it a food to avoid or consume with caution for individuals with food allergies like tree nut allergy. Many individuals suffering from coconut allergy often reacts to the fruit rather than its oil.
Considering its benefits, coconut milk is indeed good for you. It contains more nutrients compared to cow’s milk, which is beneficial for your health. Beauty benefits also come in taking in or using this product on your skin. However, it also presents some side effects for specific individuals. It is recommended to consume it accordingly and with caution.
How to Select and Store Coconut Milk
One of the essential details to know about coconut milk is that improper storage can make it rancid due to its high oil content.
Obtaining fresh milk is good, but it spoils faster than the ones sold in store. Consume it within the day of pressing to ensure its freshness.
Today, numerous manufacturers sell canned coconut milk, which can be stored in cupboards under room temperature and with longer shelf life. You can buy them in stores, but make sure to check for can dents or damages. Read the best before dates as well to ensure quality.